Elder Jeffrey Langford has been called to the Raleigh, North Carolina Mission. He reported to the MTC Wednesday June 20, 2012 at 1:10 pm. He is so excited and ready to serve. We will follow him and the amazing experiences he will have throughout his mission for the next 2 years (730 days, 17,520 hours). We love you Elder Langford!
Sorry everyone!! I have no time to blog! It was my birthday yesterday, :D :D so I've been emailing a lot of different people today and what not...
Birthday summed up:
I confirmed our investigator in ward conference!
We had a linger longer after church, so I ate a lot of food, and the bishop announced everyone to sing to me, so I got a whole gym of members calling for my birthday... Haha so it was good! It was a very simple missionary birthday but I mean hey, when you're living the law of consecration, the whole 'look at me it's my birthday' factor's pretty low, which is totally understandable ;) We've been workikng with the YSA alot, and my capacity to discern other people's needs through the spirit has grown immensely in this last week....
My gratitude for the Savior continually grows! Faith, hope, and charity have changed so much in these last months.... they definitely bring you to the truth, exactly when you need it!
Sorry this is so short but I love you all so much and thanks for all the birthday wishes :D :D I'll get those thank you cards out like nobody's business!! :D :D
Blog I have little time here, but this has been a great week! I forgot my planner today so I'll go a little bit off of improv here...
So we've been more with the YSA, (Young Single Adults), lately, and things have been going really good! It's so weird being a missionary and working with people your own age... I look up to them a lot though! I can imagine it'd be hard for them to be as active as they are... I look back and think man... I can't imagine doing all that they do such as visiting teaching, home teaching, and the callings they have and the lessons they prepare. Let's be honest pre-mission I wasn't 100% on home teaching every month, but things have definitely changed! I think If I come home and don't do 100% home teaching, then I missed a couple points of why I came out here in the first place... But yeah they're so good, and they know so much! It's great to just learn from them all the time, and to be around their great spirits! Last night we had a scripture study, and had some great thoughts born of the spirit. Someone talked about how they didn't understand the Atonement, and the importance of repentance in doing so. She felt that (kind of playing the devil's advocate,) that there was no point of repentance... so we talked about how the atonement is just like Christ playing the price for piano lessons through his sacrifice. Repentance is when we make the choice to actually listen, learn the notes, and understand how to play these great songs. Life is so similar! We can choose to make the same mistakes over and over again, or we can choose to repent, (it's a happy word), and see how the change makes us a better person! Use his sacrifice! Repent and be healed.
Gotta go! sorry. I should save more time... When you're an old missionary, there's a "couple" people you email left and right and you can easily run out of time.
Whoaaaaaa what a crazy week!! I feel like I'm saying that every week, but it is accurate every single time without fail!! soooo I'll talk about some of the good times.
So first off, we had a wonderful baptism of a Young Woman this week! About 70 people showed up for it, and we got to both speak in the chapel about baptism and the Holy Ghost. She's been coming to church and seminary for a long time now, and is truly prepared to make this covenant! I promised her I wouldn't cry and I TOTALLY didn't! (in front of her so it was all good). Because I'm an elder, and everyone knows that elders don't cry. Sometimes.
So she was confirmed on Sunday. Just to give a little back knowledge to the situation, Two of the speakers called in sick really late, and so we as a ward council decided to have some of us go up, explain one of our favorite hymns, and then to have the whole congregation sing it. I volunteered right off the bat, and of course chose #221 "DEAR TO THE HEART OF THE SHEPPARD!" So that was a great preface to walking into sacrament meeting.
It was a great spirit as she confirmed, and as I sat down, I felt prompted to write her a little note, asking her to write down all the things that she remembered about her confirmation. I handed it to her as I came up and gave a little talk about why #221 has been one of my favorite hymns, and how we're all so blessed to be able to have the Holy Ghost with us all the time, in these 'green inviting pastures'. It was one of the neatest things hearing the whole congregation sing that song. After the meeting, she gave me back the note, with a little note to me on the back. She said she'd go home and write it down, but wanted me to have that copy of the note. I think that note, will be one of the most treasured things I take home with me after my mission. One of my favorite points on there was as she mentioned that "after I got up, I finally felt that light and peace that I wanted the whole time". Awe man my heart has melted so much this week... call me what you want!
ALSO.... a little bit more of a manly side of Elder Langford here, we went on a blitz (meaning both of us went to another area to help out with the work and what they're trying to work on in their area). It was the first time in like 12-14 weeks that I've biked! When I got on, I told him "alright thunder thighs, show me what you got!" He did.
I almost barfed... Haha the first 10 minutes of biking, I was gear 7 and 3, pedaling as hard as I could, but he just kept going faster... After we shared the gospel and found 7 new investigators that day, I finally was able to bike along side him comfortably. I just needed to warm up really quickly. It was pretty crazy. This Elder and his companion had been fasting to find 5 new investigators that week, because in the last couple weeks they'd never found more than 2 in a week. So we were able to bike hard, work hard, and we found SEVEN... Miracles happen when you exercise pro-active faith in the Lord! People were all over the place and prepared to hear the pleasing word of God!
We also went to the beach, (just to look), which was also great!! :D What a good week! I'd like to see a couple more of these!!! I'm glad that I'm a young missionary with a lot of time left, because going home seems far far away... I love you all sooooo much!
MIRACLE AFTER MIRACLE... Where to start....
First off... when it snows in North Carolina, as it did, there's something called 'Ice rain' that falls, and just freezes everything. It is then blanketed by a fresh layer of snow, hiding all the ice. Needless to say, these people go crazy...
Some things that were observed:
- Probably about 4 wrecks
- A mom recording her kid in a laundry basket, tied to the bumper of a car, going in circles in the church parking lot
- Sweat pants= snow pants, as did hunting gear, and full on ski gear.
- People had garden shovels and bobcats trying to pick the snow up!
-(My favorite): A guy in a fancy car was getting a video made by a friend in a parking lot, doing some crazy never before seen, 'half donut fish-tailing'. Someone call guiness.
- Full grown man playing with an RC truck on the ice
-YSA videos, along with a member in the ward, knee boarding and skiing behind trucks, and john deers.
As far as everyone else, they typically stayed indoors... Hiding from the monstrous ice. We have about 0 tread left on our front wheel driving Malibu, and with safety of course, we had a blast driving on these roads ;)
Also, two people's stories to quickly tell:
We've been meeting with him for almost 12 weeks, and in that time, he's gained and regained electricity, water, heat, and food many a time. He's been relentlessly hunting for a job with no success yet. He's trying to get unemployment and even has disability and veteran benefits, and has had little to no success. He told us in a time of complete and utter discouragement, that he was done. He didn't know if he believed in church or the Book of Mormon anymore. The spirit bore powerful testimony through me and my companion, to tell him to quit smoking, and to do all that he could to try and live the gospel in not just part, but it's fullness, so that there could be no confusion or doubt. He shrugged it and said sure, and the next day we asked if he needed a ride to church, and he said no because he probably wasn't coming. We texted him simply that we loved him, we were praying for him, and to sleep well. HE CAME. We went to see him afterwards, and he was a new man. I have never seen such a clear and concise manifestation of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He was asking us how to repent more fully, and how to feel the burden of his past mistakes made up. It's the only time I've seen this 50-60 veteren cry. We had a great hug, and talked about the atonement, in where he told us that it is only by this book and this gospel, that he's been able to be sane through all of these events. He said he will work toward his baptismal date, and will do all in his power to continually read from this book and live this gospel. He doesn't always fully grasp it, or the concepts, so he reads it 4-5 times to make sure, and then if he still doesn't get it, he talks about how he'll get it the next time through the book. He says that the book and the gospel, through faith in Christ, open that little pocket of hope that the spirit brings, to help him carry on, and when that's not there, he feels nothing. Wow... then he offered the most humble and grateful prayer I've heard, especially coming from a man who has next to nothing in earthly possessions. It was powerful...
So we can learn to be grateful for 2 things.
- The perfect brightness of Hope the gospel has naturally brought to your day to day life
- Your family, your house, your electricity, your running water.
- Your personal, unborrowed testimony that Jesus is the Christ.
-The ability to be grateful for what you do have.
Story number 2:
Brother Joe (name changed):
When we first met him, he told us that he had social anxiety that was extremely heightened, to a point where church was a long shot away, and that he also smoked, and drank coffee and tea as well. We talked about the enabling power of the atonement and how he felt trapped at that point. We read from 2 Nephi chapter one, as Lehi talks about shaking off the awful chains of Hell, and being embraced by our Redeemer and Savior. As he read that, he said he no longer wanted to feel trapped, he no longer wanted to go through these things, but that he wanted to be made free through Christ, and to experience that peace that he felt on a daily basis as we taught him. We set a baptismal date and talked about the things that needed to change. The following week, we talked about the word of wisdom, and told him that if he was ready to make the commitment, that he could give it all up that night. I have never felt as such a conduit to the spirit as I did giving him that blessing before we left. This man had such great faith, and I could feel the Lord literally pouring in blessings to promise him. He gave us everything. All his nicotine packets for his electronic cigarette, his tea, and all his coffee. He called us the next day saying he was having a couple withdrawals, so we headed back armed with cinnamon gum, and some grapefruit juice! He said that he was soo close to running to the store to just buy some cigarettes, but he didn't, because He wanted this. He wanted this change in his life. So we talked and testified how this is a trial to overcome. As his perspective changed through his on going repenting, he readily agreed, and told us that he could do this, viewing it as an inconvenient, but manageable trial. The next time we went over we talked about church attendance, and felt prompted to promise him that as he came to church with us this week, that he'd be guided by angels bearing him up. He overcame his anxiety and came. He stayed for an hour and kind of snuck out the front door. As we walked up to him, he had a huge smile on his face, saying "I did it! next week we'll go for the more if not the whole meeting." I've never seen such great faith in Christ through trials as this man had. Two more things to be grateful for this week:
- freedom from addiction
-the ability to talk to people around you.
We've also got a baptism coming up this week for a 15 year old girl.
She's incredible, and has been coming to seminary for a quite a while. She's a next door neighbor to
the stake president and his wonderful family. We've been able to get to know them really well, and are always so blessed by their kindness and generosity to have us in their teaching lessons, and getting to know them and our investigator better. We're so excited for her, and we're excited in two weeks for these two great brothers.
I love you all so much! Never take the truth you have for granted!
Also, be grateful for your snow intelligence. :) Take care!